The 'Four Quadrants' of Thinking Threats

Benjamin Taylor
18 januari 2021

If systems thinking offers great power, what does great responsibility look like?

Benjamin developed the ‘four quadrants of thinking threats’ with the involvement of the SCiO Board (but accepts all responsibility), a simple model seeking to help us all to identify some of the inherent risks in the potential of systems thinking, cybernetics, and complexity to help us to ‘see more’ and ‘know differently’.

We will explore physically and intellectually through embodying some of the patterns:

• What pulls people into each of the quadrants. What does it feel like? What’s the damage? What’s the psychological payoff? Why do people stay in the corners?

• What does it feel like to be in a different space on the grid?

• How do the quadrants relate to each other? What are the implications for the systems movement? For individuals? For the world?

• What pulls people into the middle? How does that feel? What’s the benefit? What’s the cost?

• Is this real? Is it objective?

Benjamin may also make the link from this to some of his organisational systems work!


About Benjamin Taylor

Benjamin studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford University before becoming co-ordinator of a youth development charity. He has worked in public service transformation since 1998, beginning as Adviser to Mayor, eGovernment Manager, and procuring a strategic partner for a London borough council. At PwC and Capita group, his work included customer strategy for Birmingham City Council and advice to the Government of Armenia. He has been running RedQuadrant since 2009, and the Public Service Transformation Academy since 2016.

He calls himself a business evolutionary and avid learner, and is passionate about systems / complexity / cybernetics. He has a lean six sigma black belt and is an accredited power+systems trainer. He has been a visiting lecturer in applied systems thinking at Cass Business School, City University, and has lectured at Nottingham Business School and Oxford Said/HEC Paris.

Also, writing a book on systems thinking and public service transformation.

Benjamin runs the RedQuadrant Way tool shed – – helping people to do better change / consulting / systems change etc